Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm
If you live in the Northeast, this has been a wacky winter: It has been deathly cold in Eastern Europe, as flowers bloom in New York City and temperatures rise to the high 40s and even 50s.
I went in search of flowers in bloom and was not disappointed. There were bushes of red camellias, and gorgeous yellow flowering Adonis. Kristin Schleiter is the acting director of outdoor gardens at the New York Botanical Garden. She took me to an outdoor test garden.
Kabul's fourth snowstorm in the past month brought children out to play across the city, including those in the Charahi Qambar refugee camp in the western part of the capital.
Many of the children in the camp don't remember any other life outside of this mud-brick shantytown. Most of their parents fled the southern province of Helmand when the war heated up there four years ago.
The dispute over Iran's nuclear program has again rocked oil markets. And Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is just 34 miles wide yet serves as the passageway for 20 percent of the world's oil.
This is not a new drama. In fact, it was a recurring issue in the 1980s. Still, there's been relatively little activity among Gulf oil producers to find alternative routes to get their oil to market.
The Westminster Kennel Club dog show is under way, and that means dogs are being pampered, brushed and cajoled to walk before the event's judges. First held in 1877, the Westminster show claims to be second only to the Kentucky Derby in terms of continuously held sporting events.
Score one for the pigs. The news that McDonald's will require its U.S. pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestational crates should add a lot more momentum to efforts to end the practice of confining sows while pregnant.
Mitt Romney, self-proclaimed "son of Detroit," appears to be in serious trouble in Michigan, falling behind to rival Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum in new polls.
Despite that, he's standing firm on his position that the Obama administration should have allowed two iconic car companies — GM and Chrysler — to enter the regular corporate bankruptcy process three years ago.
Canadian singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards is enjoying a huge career boost with her new fourth album, Voyageur. Produced in part by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, Voyageur sounds deeply personal and genuine: Edwards sings of failed marriages, life in the spotlight and the delicate happiness that comes with new beginnings.