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     “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.” Aldous Huxley

Don’t Believe Everything You Read

As a wet-behind-the-ears journalist, I learned not to believe everything I was told. The lesson came the first time I wrote about a stranded family in town with a dying child. The article I wrote poured money into their pockets. And then, after they had fled the area, I learned it was all a scam, one they had also pulled in a town the next daily newspaper away.

Will the real Regina Brett please stand up.

Will the real Regina Brett please stand up.

I was never taken in again because I learned the art of double checking, and double checking again. It’s a habit that’s proved more valuable than ever since the Internet came along.Now while I love the web, it’s not the purveyor of truth that a good, investigative reporter is. Anyone can say just about anything – and does.

That fact was jammed home to me this morning when I read a great blog by Soul Writings, which quoted 90-year-old Regina Brett, Plains Dealer newspaper columnist, about the lessons she had learned in life.

There were 42 of them, and I found every one of them to be great advice. The blog was accompanied by a photo of the 90-year-old Regina wearing large black spectacles. I loved the image of her wearing gaudy jewelry and bright colors.  I think old broads, perhaps because I am one, rock.

But something didn’t ring true in this old journalist’s head. So I started double-checking.

There really is a Regina Brett, I discovered, and she really is a columnist for the Plains Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. But she’s nowhere near 90, although she really did write a column called Life’s Lesson. There were 45 of them, not just 42, however. And she recently updated the column to include 50, as that is the age she is turning.

You really can’t believe everything you read, you know.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Soul Writings http://tinyurl.com/aoqzwen It’s still a
good column, but here’s the real one. http://tinyurl.com/yzl3szz .

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Larry Kangas in front of a tiger mural he recently painted for a San Diego retirement home .

Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly. — Arnold Edinborough

I love the Internet. It keeps me in touch with loved ones and friends while I’m all the way across the country. I can see pictures of my great grandson as he takes his first step, and keep in touch with a son’s who’s halfway across the world in Afghanistan. 

It also adds an extra dimension to my travels, from researching my destinations to answering a head full of questions, including a recent one about who was the artist that painted a fire house in Morton, Washington, which I wrote about August 2.  

My curiosity, which I guarantee is greater than the one that killed the cat, wanted to know more about the artist. I was sure I had seen other work by him in my travels.  

With only the signature “Kangas’” to go on, I searched the Web and discovered the artist was Larry Kangas of Beaverton, Oregon, and that he has been painting big for over 35 years – and is still going. 

We exchanged a couple of e-mails, and I learned that he has painted his murals on everything from walls in private homes to aviation museums. As a U.S. Air Force navigator for 21 years, aircraft have been one of favorite subjects over the years.  

Assisted living facilities have been the beneficiary of his most recent work, however. 

“Must be those boomers,” he says, adding that “I am one.” He said the idea is to bring in the mural artists to paint some “memories.” 

Thanks Larry, for yet another one of those interesting travel surprises that keep me wanting never to leave the road. And thanks to the Internet for letting this “inquiring mind” learn a bit about “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey always liked to say.  

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