Of rats and men

By Stuart Rosenthal
Posted on December 26, 2011

Scientists have long experimented on mice and rats to test new drugs and treatments for human illnesses.I’ve always imagined that there must be many similarities between our species — at least on a cellular level or in organ systems — for that to make sense. But I haven’t been much bothered by the fact that these physical similarities exist because I subscribe to the ... READ MORE

Downsize and do good

By Bruben
Posted on December 05, 2011

Shera, a lioness at the National Zoo, swipes a paw across a swirl of blue paint. Her claw punctures the paper. A volunteer quickly pulls the “painting” out of her enclosure before she can take a bite out of it, as lion cub Baruti likes to do with his artwork.Sans berets, smocks or palettes, the animals at the zoo are getting their paws dirty with non-toxic, water-based paint and ... READ MORE

Holiday shows help make the season merry and bright

By Barbara Ruben
Posted on November 21, 2011

The jack-o-lanterns were still glowing when the Christmas trees lit up at Macy’s. My local mall began piping in holiday music before Veterans Day, and Black Friday is beginning on Thanksgiving Thursday this year.  Bah humbug, I say. But beyond the Christmas creep and the showdown for parking spaces at the mall, the holiday season brings a bounty of plays and concerts that more than... READ MORE

Tooting our horn

By Stuart Rosenthal
Posted on November 18, 2011

Every year, we enter a selection of our original stories in the editorial contests run by the two largest 50+ media associations: the National Mature Media Awards, and the North American Mature Publishers Association (NAMPA) awards.I am pleased to report that the Beacon once again came away from both competitions with some top honors. In fact, this year, all three of our Beacon editions... READ MORE

The sound of music

By Bruben
Posted on November 08, 2011

I grew up in a house where the soundtrack of daily life was Mozart, Chopin and Beethoven played on the kitchen radio tuned to the classical music station. While my tastes as a teen ran more to the Rolling Stones and Cat Stevens, today my car radio is often tuned to the classical music on WETA, and my iPod contains Bach, along with Bruce Springstein.I’ve found that a number of boomers... READ MORE

Railing against reform

By Stuart Rosenthal
Posted on October 21, 2011

Social Security is no longer the ‘third rail” of American politics. Legislators no longer touch it and die. At least not instantaneously.But this isn’t the first time Congress has seriously undertaken to change the terms of our social contract with Social Security. Over its history, changes have been considered and made on several occasions to keep the program financially... READ MORE

Get out and play

By Bruben
Posted on September 26, 2011

More grandparents than ever are either raising their grandkids or significantly contributing to their upbringing, according to the latest U.S. Census figures. In all, there are 62.8 million grandparents in the U.S., the most ever. They are projected to make up roughly 1 in 3 adults by 2020. Look for more details about this trend in an upcoming issue of the Beacon.Fall brings myriad... READ MORE

Moving the folks (Part II)

By Stuart Rosenthal
Posted on September 26, 2011

A number of readers have commented to me on my column last month, in which I shared some observations on the occasion of my parents (ages 82 and 91) moving from their condo into an assisted living facility in Austin, Texas. No one has actually asked me why my parents would decide to stay in Texas when my brother and I, their only children, live in the greater Washington area. But I think ... READ MORE

Never too late to learn

By Bruben
Posted on September 14, 2011

My daughter started high school a couple weeks ago. And I have to admit that when I see the alphabet soup of her algebra homework or the physics word problems involving acceleration rates, I’m just as happy I’m not going to be having a test on the material next week.That’s why I so admire the students featured on the cover of the September issue of the Washington Beacon.... READ MORE

Moving the folks (Part I)

By Stuart Rosenthal
Posted on September 13, 2011

My parents, whom long-time readers have “met” before in this column, have once again graciously provided me with an occasion for some musings. You see, they’ve recently moved into an assisted living facility.While I have edited articles about such moves many times over the years, this is my first opportunity to experience one myself, and therein lie a few tales.First, what ... READ MORE