In Afghanistan, TV anchor drew his gun and waited for attackers to come through the door

WTVQ-TV morning anchor Doug High joined the Navy Reserve after 9/11. “I did not want my kids to ask me what I did at that time.” “I was a realist,” High, 48,added. “I knew I wasn’t going to be running around the desert with 20-year-olds.” He was called up to go to Afghanistan in 2017, and spent from April to December on active duty. He was on communications duty and, at the time, could not have envisioned there would come a morning when he would be holding a gun and waiting for an attacker to come through the door. But the time came. He had been eating eggs for breakfast on Sept. 27 when he was knocked from his chair by the impact of a blast. As the blasts continued, High and others upended tables and waited for a possible insurgent invasion at their office and production facility, near the airport runway in Kabul. They were told to shoot at anyone trying to get in. That’s when the danger of his situation set in: Although he was in Kabul, High was working on radio and television productions to assure Afghan citizens that the NATO troops were helping their military restore order. In an instant, he discovered that everyone in that country — no matter their job — was subject to being caught up in a crossfire, even if they had no idea why. At the time, High said he thought that a few months ago he was in Lexington, “and now I have to prepare myself mentally to shoot whoever’s going to come through that door.” Eventually High was moved to a hallway where he took out his cell phone and started recording, relying on his training as a reporter. Although his voice is calm, the blood seems to have drained from his face. All the windows and doors had been blown out of his office while he was gone, causing a concussion to one of the staff members. Insurgents had taken over a house next to the airport and were firing rocket-propelled grenades on the building where High worked. While sirens wail, Continue Reading

Goatgrams: Flower delivery service’s goats eat the bouquet

WASHOUGAL, Wash. (AP) - Brett Wilson tends to leave a mess.“I’m probably the only person who has defiled an office and had people appreciate it,” said Wilson, 46, of Washougal.It’s not Wilson doing to the defiling, technically. It’s Om Nom or Nibbles, his Nigerian dwarf goats, who stand roughly 2 1/2 feet tall and weigh between 30 and 40 pounds.In September, he started Goatgrams, a flower delivery service in which Wilson will hand-pick flowers from his farm and deliver them anywhere in the Portland-Vancouver area along with Om Nom and Nibbles, who will also eat the bouquet of flowers, lettuce and kale.“I knew people would want to see goats eat flowers,” he said. “They’re unbelievably cute and playful.”Earlier this month, Wilson packed Om Nom and Nibbles into his Honda Element for a delivery to Portland’s Dennison Capen Group Realty, where some coworkers ordered a Goatgram for Megan Winnerling. The coworkers met Wilson outside and hid him behind a wall in the courtyard. One of Winnerling’s colleagues held the bouquet and handed it to her as she walked outside. She was unsure what was going on, and then Wilson, Om Nom and Nibbles popped out.Winnerling shrieked, jumped up and down and excitedly yelled out, “I watch so many goat videos.” She crouched down to feed and pet the goats.Beth Hergert, her colleague who ordered the Goatgram, got the idea after seeing it featured on one of the local TV stations. She knew it was a good gift because Winnerling regularly shares goat videos with her on Instagram.Wilson said he’s used to the screaming when people notice the goats, which isn’t always immediate.“It’s so absurd that your brain filters it out,” he said.Once people see the goats, they forget that he’s standing in their office or at their door. On a different order that same day, Wilson delivered flowers to Ginny Garcia-Alexander and Tyler Alexander in Continue Reading

15 things successful people do over holiday breaks

Áine Cain, provided by Published 12:06 pm, Thursday, December 21, 2017 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Photo: The Chronicle Image 1of/15 CaptionClose Image 1 of 15 They spend quality time with their families, friends, and significant others. Successful people know their weeks will be jammed and that they are likely to be unavailable, says Roy Cohen, a career coach and author of "The Wall Street Professional's Survival Guide." So they make the most of their Sunday nights by spending time with their loved ones.  less They spend quality time with their families, friends, and significant others.  Successful people know their weeks will be jammed and that they are likely to be unavailable, says Roy Cohen, a career coach and ... more Photo: The Chronicle Image 2 of 15 They plan something fun. "This idea may be the most important tip," Vanderkam writes. "This extends the weekend and keeps you focused on the fun to come, rather than on Monday morning." Vanderkam quotes Caitlin Andrews, a librarian, who says her extended family gets together for dinner almost Continue Reading

10 last-minute Christmas gift ideas for procrastinators

As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve always been a terrible procrastinator. Christmas is no exception. Year after year I find myself scrambling at the last minute searching high and low for the perfect gift. Usually, without fail, I end up settling on something slightly more mediocre — such as a gift cards. As much as I curse myself for waiting so long — and vow to never let it happen again — I always find myself repeating the same tragic mistake over and over. And I know I’m not alone. In fact, judging by the longer-than-normal wait times at some of my favorite stores, it would seem a lot of people are guilty of waiting until the last minute to take care of their Christmas shopping. As much as they hope to find a unique and meaningful present for their friends and family, they will — like me — end up feeling less-than-impressed with what can only be described as a lazy man’s gift giving. To help avoid feeling forced to hand out cash and gift cards as a last resort, I’ve done my research and found 10 unique and different last-minute gift ideas that are sure to turn a few heads. 1. Subscription services. Whether the person you're shopping for is a pet lover or a jewelry lover, there’s a subscription service for everyone. For a monthly fee, subscription holders can enjoy everything from jewelry and clothing rental to pet toys and beauty product samples. 2. Custom calendar. In a society that loves to take pictures, why not capture the moment with a customized calendar? Simply log onto your favorite photo sharing website — Shutterfly or Amazon PRIME for example — and create a gift that will last a lifetime...or at least the next year. 3. Lottery ticket scratch offs. If you’re looking for something simple yet entertaining, consider gifting lottery ticket scratch offs. If friends and family are of legal age, lottery scratch offs are a great way to put a unique spin on giving cash Continue Reading

Why Venmo Is My Favorite Sympathy Card

When something awful happens to a friend, our first instinct, as decent people, is to do one of two things: send flowers or bring food. These are the classic “sorry everything is terrible” options that have stood the test of time. Except they...kind of haven’t, at least not since we've all started moving further and further from our hometowns and hopping cities every few years. If you’re in Maryland and your friend is in a suburb in Michigan, it’s not like you can just leave a casserole on their front porch, and sending not-shitty flowers long-distance (to their house? to their office? WHO KNOWS???) can be surprisingly difficult. Even if you live nearby, these options aren’t for everyone — some people don't like flowers, or you may be a terrible cook. Enter Venmo, the dark horse third when it comes to expressing sympathy.Yes, Venmo, the app that lets you seamlessly send and receive money from friends without ever paying any fees. Venmo, used most often to cover your share of bar tabs and Lyfts and Airbnbs and utility bills. Venmo, where there are very few words but a lot of emojis. That Venmo. Since I’ve entered my thirties — a time when shit starts getting REAL real, turns out — I’ve discovered that the PayPal's sexier younger sibling is also a fantastic way to be there for someone when they are in crisis, in whatever way they need you to be there.Last year, after a friend’s miscarriage, our friend group discussed sending her flowers. But in the end, I just collected money from everyone via Venmo, and then Venmoed the sum to the friend privately with a note to use it for Ubers to and from doctor’s appointments, Seamless orders, wine, and snacks — anything that might make one of the worst days of her life a tiny bit less bad. Another time, when I was having a very shitty week, a friend Venmoed me $15 with the bouquet emoji. “I couldn’t get flowers delivered to you that Continue Reading

Meritocracy and the history of the science of biological differences

August 25, 2017NEW YORK—For many Americans, the principle of nondiscrimination is rooted in a deep moral commitment to the ideals of an American meritocracy. And many agree that, in theory, it shouldn’t matter what a man or woman’s race, ethnicity, or nationality might be: it’s merit that counts, and success should be a matter of hard work, good character, and natural talent.It’s an ideal, but many believe that equality is fundamentally an equality of opportunity, not of outcome. Liberty, too, is fundamentally the freedom to find success in what could be called a "natural" way. Given its limitations and fallibilities, a pluralistic, democratic government should stay out of the way. Attempts to engineer more egalitarian outcomes might breed only bitterness and conflict, many say.But when it comes to questions of gender and race, this simple ideal has had a long and stormy history. Embedded within it, many scholars say, is the fraught problem of how to explain the unequal distributions of wealth and power in the country. The gaps between men and women – and various racial groups – are either somehow embedded in our “natural” makeup, or they might reflect those subtle and not-so-subtle acts of discrimination that are rooted in age-old prejudices.“If you think that the beautiful thing about this country is that we actually live in that meritocracy, already, then of course when you see huge disparities in class or race, they must reflect something fundamental about the groups that are in different positions,” says Rebecca Jordan-Young, a scientist at Barnard College in New York and the author of “Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences.”For more than a century, many American thinkers have argued that something fundamental is reflected in the realities of biology. Pseudosciences such as phrenology and eugenics have attempted to ascribe a biological rationalization for the Continue Reading

“Girls” Has Gotten Less White, But Not In A Good Way

In the sixth and final season of HBO’s Girls, there’s a scene in the second episode (“Hostage Situation”) in which Lena Dunham’s character Hannah ducks into a picturesque gift shop in upstate New York, while seeking sanctuary from toxic bickering between her best friend Marnie and Marnie’s soon to be ex-husband Desi. She promptly knocks over a stack of books.“Oh, leave it, it’s fine, I need to reorganize that anyway,” says the shop owner, named Marlowe (according to IMDB) and played by model-turned-actor Joy Bryant (Parenthood). Clad in all black, her hair in a sleek ponytail, rocking plum-colored lipstick, and holding a tawny lap dog in one hand, she looks like a beguiling witch. Hannah says as much.“Wow,” says Hannah. “I have never felt such an intense need to Instagram a stranger.”“I get that a lot,” quips Marlowe. She asks if Hannah has any questions. “I do have one question,” replies Hannah. “Why are you not a model in Dubai making $10 million a year?”Marlowe explains that, in fact, she used to work in fashion in Queens, but after she fainted onto the subway tracks one day and was rescued by Chris Noth, she found refuge in the countryside.“Are you happier?” asks Hannah.“How could I not be?” Marlowe says, “I’m living my truth.”There’s a dramatic pause as Hannah considers this idea.By itself, this scene is innocuous enough. Hannah is searching for meaning, viewers can deduce, and finds some comfort talking to this beautiful stranger, who happens to be black. But in the larger context of this season of Girls, that moment is merely the first in a string of scenes in which supporting characters of color help the white stars of the show find themselves.In last week’s episode, “Bounce,” Elijah (Andrew Rannells), Hannah’s fabulously bitchy roommate (and chronic scene-stealer of the Continue Reading

Black-ish Recap Season 2, Episode 4: ‘Daddy’s Day’

Dre Johnson schemes up a plan to get the recognition he deserves as a dad in Wednesday night's episode. After feeling neglected and getting crummy gifts from his kids on Father's Day, Dre (Anthony Anderson) and his creative work colleagues come up with a new holiday – “Daddy's Day." While gathering his wife Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) and kids Junior, (Marcus Scribner) Diane (Marsai Martin) and Jack (Miles Brown) in the living room for an informal debriefing, Dre begins to go over the guidelines of what he expects from everyone on the new found holiday. "I expect professional quality cards each with a heartfelt message, okay? Top shelf gifts ¬– no mugs," Dre explains. "Or ties from my closet that I already own," he tells his youngest son who raises his hand with a pre answered question. Of course the family meeting gets interrupted by Pops (Lawrence Fishburne) who declares that his son's idea is the "dumbest idea of all the dumb ideas you ever had." After Pops’ typical statement, Dre explains that Father's Day is for fathers like Pops – who was a rolling stone while Dre was growing up – and argued that he is different because he is more involved in his kids’ lives. In walks clueless Zoe (Yara Shahidi) with friend Rasheeda, played by guest star Zendaya, who notices the family meeting occurring and quickly yells that she is going to her room before hearing about Daddy's Day – only to be stopped by Dre after reminding her that if she would have said that to Pops, her teeth would get knocked out. "I'm about to call me an Uber cause it looks like you're about to get a whopping," Rasheeda says. Later on that night, Junior comes to thank his mom for sticking up for him earlier – referring to when Dre told him to sit on the floor during the family meeting because the seat was saved for Zoe – and then surprised her by saying he would handle the laundry for the night. Thinking Continue Reading

Got a new smartphone? You need these apps

You’ve booted up your new smartphone and are eager to download a bunch of apps.Problem is, there are roughly 1.5 million of them at the App Store (for iPhone and iPad) and Google Play (for Android devices). Overwhelming is an understatement.And so we’ve curated some of the “must have” apps to get you going with your new mobile device. Some are some older tried-and-true downloads, while others are newer or lesser-known gems.Unless specified otherwise, all of these apps are free and available for both iOS and Android devices. Productivity, organization Don’t settle for a second-tier word processor, spreadsheet maker and presentation creator. Instead, Word, Excel and PowerPoint are stellar downloads for phones and tablets. Save your files locally on your device, or choose to sync them to a OneDrive cloud account for safekeeping, anywhere access, and easy sharing of large files. Whether you using your fingertip, stylus pen or wireless keyboard, these free Office apps look and feel like their computer counterparts.Got a million-dollar idea while on the go? Write, type or speak it inside of Evernote, a powerful tool for all major mobile platforms. Not only does Evernote help you flesh out your ideas and stay organized, but the app is cloud-enabled, therefore everything is immediately synchronized with many other Evernote-supported platforms, such as your PC or Mac. Microsoft’s OneNote is also a great notetaking pick. Navigation, maps Along with getting fast and accurate turn-by-turn directions to a destination – on foot, by car, bike or public transit – Google Maps includes smart local searches (with reviews and ratings), a 360-degree Street View and the option to sync your searches and directions between your phone and other devices.Also check out Waze, dubbed the “world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app.” The more the merrier, if you will, as you’re joined with other Continue Reading

For two Syrian brothers, a new home in Milwaukee

As Michal Chabo drifts off to sleep, his Milwaukee apartment recedes into the darkness and he is back in Syria, running for his life, pursued by fighters from the Islamic State. The fighters shout, "Nazarene! Nazarene!" the Arabic word for “Christian.” They know he is one, and if they catch him, they will kill him.On other nights, he says, it is soldiers from the Syrian regime in pursuit. If they catch him, they will force him to serve in the Army, carry a rifle and kill others.“Always at the end, they are very close, face to face,” says Michal, 26. “But I open my eyes, and I see myself in my bedroom, and I thank God like 10 million times.“I don’t have to kill or be killed.”In 2012, when Michal and his younger brother, John, fled Syria, ISIS did not exist. Since then, the terrorist group has become a chilling presence in a war the brothers now follow on the websites of CNN and the BBC, and through a group on Facebook.They came to Milwaukee a year after their escape from Syria. This summer their applications for asylum were approved and today they have jobs, friends and an apartment. John, 24, works at a Colectivo coffee shop; Michal works at the church they both attend, Eastbrook on N. Green Bay Ave.And 6,000 miles away lie the things they left behind.Their beloved city of Aleppo with its cobblestone streets and ancient churches built inside of caves — much of it now rubble.Childhood photographs, posters of their Christian band and other treasured possessions — everything that did not fit inside the one suitcase each man packed in 30 minutes.And their precious musical instruments, all except the single guitar their father risked his life to save.There was no looking back the day the brothers made their run. Helicopters circled Aleppo, firing down into the city.• • •They arrived in Milwaukee on Jan. 28, 2014, knowing no one and carrying next to nothing. At that point, few Syrians Continue Reading