Photo: Sandip Kumar via Creative Commons

You probably are aware of the plight of many animals, from rhinoceroses to elephants and a number of animals in between. There’s a lesser-known animal out there who is also worthy of our attention. Here’s a pangolin primer to introduce you to a delightful little creature who desperately needs our help.

1. Pangolins hold 3 world records.

The innocent and vulnerable pangolin, lumbering quietly in the forests of Asia and Africa, quite humbly holds three world records.


My grandmother Frances had a chiseled chin and huge, haunting eyes. Maybe her eyes are just huge, but because she has always been a specter in my life I feel them haunting me.

I’ve always known of her, that she died when my dad was only four years old and that her sisters raised my father until his own father, my Granddaddy Logan, got remarried. But she was not My Grandmother. The grandmother that I knew was my Mama Ann, and she was the kindest and gentlest grandmother ever. She dressed in the colors of a newborn fawn, and her…


Cleaning Delirium, photo by author

Delightful Distractions During Online Teaching

I’m no air traffic controller, but I do keep watchful eyes on multiple screens at one time.

In accordance with one of the three “bottom lines” of Magic Ears, one of the companies I contract with to teach English to Chinese children, I am careful to minimize disruptions in my virtual classroom. I have up to four students at a time in one class, which means five little windows are open at all times, mine included. The classroom itself is a dynamic one full of cartoons, games, short videos, songs, and other engaging activities taking…


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

One day a friend from work dropped by unexpectedly. She handed me a Tupperware container. “Here,” she said, “I thought maybe you could do something with these guys.”

I cautiously pulled back the cracked plastic lid. Inside was a little nest with three naked, shriveled baby birds in it. My friend had found the nest in a tractor she’d borrowed the day before from someone who lived two long-apart towns over. “I found them this morning. I’m afraid I’ve moved them far away from their mother.”

“I’ll do my best,” I said. I knew how futile this would be, but…


Photo by Trent Szmolnik on Unsplash

A Boomer’s Unsolicited Advice on Keeping a Journal

How old are you?

Blink once and add ten years, blink twice, add twenty. That’s what happened to me. I blinked twice and twenty years is gone.

Something traumatic happened in my life twenty years ago, and I recently decided it was time to write about it. There are reasons why now is the right time — some magical, like the confluence of 20s all around me, others mundane, like having some unexpected time. And yet, despite the timing and the synchronicity, my fingers lay dead on the keyboard when I sat down to start. …


Photo by Mary Dansak, author

Care for the soul in turbulent times

I, like many sane Americans, awoke on the morning of Nov. 9 2016 with a Fireball Whiskey and Xanax induced hangover. After cancelling my families’ one-way flights to Costa Rica, I armed myself with a strong cup of coffee and wrote out a 10 Point Plan for Survival. For a while I followed my plan, and then, like all the best laid plans of mice and men, it went awry.

Recent events caused me reconsider those tickets to Costa Rica, and to wonder if my country will ever recover from the demons unleashed…


Photo by Christopher Campbell on Unsplash

How one man’s poop might be another man’s treasure in the fight for a trim physique

You’ve tried everything!

You’ve fasted intermittently, counted points on color-coded charts, tracked your 10,000 steps a day, committed to Yoga with Adriene, and still that stubborn weight just won’t budge.

What gives?

Maybe it’s not you.

Maybe it’s your microbiome.

By now you’ve probably heard some amazing tales about your microbiome, and how it influences your mood, your immune system, your gut health, and maybe even your weight. Your personal collection of trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites, could weigh up to five pounds itself, but that’s not the weight you are trying to lose.

You may…


Salt Marsh, photo by Mary Dansak

How “Women-of-an-Age” give me quiet courage and hope for the future

In our daily dose of disgusting news, this week brings the Trump administration’s move of rolling back the protections on our waterways. He claims it’s to benefit farmers, but in fact it is the real estate developers who have the most to gain. Not their grandchildren of course, but their bank accounts.

In the midst of this ugliness I search for hope. Yesterday, I found some.

There is clearly something happening to our souls, at least to the souls of “women of an age,” the keepers of the fire, the grandmothers and storytellers. My peers.

I woke up yesterday morning…


A reflection on happy days at Krystal

Photo by David Resseguie from FreeImages

Long Live Krystal, home of the soggy square buns and my first job.

Upended by the news of bankruptcy and hoping this is just some kind of business move and that Krystal will always be there for my annual binge, I’m moved to share some thoughts on working at Krystal when I was 15.

My girlfriend Susan and I applied together on the same day. Mr. Plummer, the manager, hired us on the spot. We were jumping up and down in the car afterwards, her parents’ silver Mazda with the red leather interior…


Photo Credit: Tim Mossholder (Unsplash)

To round out 2019, my Movie Man and I watched 25 Robert Altman movies. Yes we did. Here’s how that happened.

During the Country Music binge someone talked about the movie Nashville, which we promptly and dutifully watched as soon as Country Music was over. And then we watched A Prairie Home Companion. And then California Split; Cookie’s Fortune; Fool for Love; Gosford Park; Images; M.A.S.H.; The Last Resort; The Long Goodbye; The Player; Thieves Like Us; 3 Women; Brewster McCloud; Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean; Dr. T and the Women; Popeye; Ready to…

Mary F. Dansak

Writing, reading, science, dogs, children, all messy humanity. Love wins. Science is real.

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