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Ben S. Dutka - page 3

Ben S. Dutka has 90 articles published.

figured it all out too late. He got his degree in Psychology and realized years later that he wanted to write for a living. He now has 16+ years of digital and print journalism experience and currently entertains an ongoing love affair with the greatest literary classics (he savored every page of "War and Peace" and thought it could've been longer, and he will finish Proust's "In Search of Lost Time"). He also loves crossword puzzles, tennis, the outdoors, and working on numerous novels. One of these days, one will get picked up...and when it does, the world will make a little more sense.

Help End Global Food Waste by Adopting “Ugly” Fruits and Veggies

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Yeah, some of that supermarket fruit is so pretty it almost doesn’t look real. Perfectly shaped, shiny, and absurdly colorful. But do these really look that unappetizing to you? Of course, as most individuals who prefer organic fruits and vegetables will tell you, this effort to make our food look cosmetically appealing has some serious downsides. It’s why the shapes and colors in an organic bin of produce aren’t quite so perfect. Even so, we all know appearance matters. That’s why the poor misshapen piece of fruit is just so off-putting. We may not even notice it but we routinely bypass the ugly ducklings in the produce section without even thinking. Hey, ugly fruits and veggies need love, too! Perhaps…

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Independence Day Shelfies from Written Words Bookstore: Honoring our roots

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When you’re firing up the barbecue on Saturday, dismissing everyone’s advice and recommendations because you are the grill master, you should take some time to consider. The meat needs proper time to cook, anyway. Perhaps you could cast a reflective eye on the holiday in question, and wonder about this country’s history. If you’re a novice when it comes to your American past, have no fear: This week’s Shelfie Picks consist of entertaining, accessible reads that will put you in touch with your roots. We went to Written Words Bookstore (please note their new address in Shelton, CT!) for these Independence Day recommendations and owner Dorothy Broder was nice enough to deliver three absolute winners. Here they are: 1. The War That…

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This Straight Guy Says, “Go See Magic Mike XXL”

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If I were to propose a movie night to my buddies, I imagine it going something like this: Me: “Hey, let’s go see Magic Mike XXL.” Silence. Cue the crickets. The aftermath following that awkward silence would be filled with questions and a little playful “why do you want to see it?” banter. Thus is the way with guys (occasionally). Admittedly, at first glance, a movie like Magic Mike XXL won’t appeal to the straight guy; in fact, some men might make a variety of assumptions based on deeply entrenched stereotypes. Even a certain trio of comedians made fun with this “audition” a few years ago.     The Daily Show Daily Show Full Episodes, More Daily Show Videos, Comedy Central Full Episodes For…

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Shelfie Picks: Blue Bicycle Books goes around the world

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Summer is a time for trips, unplanned treks and exploring the unknown. To celebrate all this warm weather activity, our Shelfie Picks this week have an adventurous tinge. In fact, we went out of this world with one of the books. These selections come courtesy of Blue Bicycle Books, a bookseller in Charleston, South Carolina that offers new, used and even rare books. Manager Sarah Peck was good enough to offer three creatively inspired books that inspired adventure and intrigue. We weren’t looking for a generic Indiana Jones-style action-adventure story; we wanted something a little different, and that’s exactly what we got. These three choices will allow you to explore far and wide: From the outrageous and often self-destructive punk rock…

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Ron Clark’s Move Your Bus asks: Are we a “rider” society?

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Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I know that there are those who are runners in business and in life — but what do we do about those who are merely riders? These words, “runner” and “rider,” are courtesy of Ron Clark, the New York Times bestselling author of The Essential 55 and winner of Disney’s “American Teacher of the Year.” He was even Oprah Winfrey’s “Phenomenal Man” selection and he has founded The Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, Georgia; to date, over 25,000 educators have visited. There, parents and teachers learn how to better unlock a child’s potential. Perhaps you caught The Ron Clark Story, an uplifting film starring Matthew Perry? Clark’s latest book, Move Your Bus: An Extraordinary New Approach to Accelerating…

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Nature’s vibrant fireworks display might explode over New England

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If we’re lucky, we may be in store for one of nature’s most spectacular light shows. No fireworks required. Also known as the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis is one of Earth’s most vibrant and beautiful natural displays: A breathtaking explosion of reds, greens, blues and various shades, caused by electrically charted particles from the sun slamming into Earth’s atmosphere. The only problem is that most of us don’t live far enough north to see them. And you know, speaking as someone who tries to appreciate the beauty of nature on a daily basis, that’s just plain disappointing. I too want to look up and see nature’s fireworks. Well, tonight, maybe I can. The Northern Lights almost never come to…

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6 Simple ways you can declutter and reenergize this summer

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Summer is here and you’re rarin’ to go. You want to give the garage (and maybe the attic) a thorough cleaning. You’ve been promising yourself for years that it’ll get done and now’s the time. And yet, there you sit, totally unmotivated. Perhaps you still have some lingering cobwebs from the brutal winter. Or maybe you’re facing the all-too-common Catch-22: You can’t relax until you’ve cleaned up a bit but you can’t seem to find the time – or the necessary motivation – to get started. Well, there are ways to light a fire. Believe it or not, the whole process of decluttering can be very Zen-like, simply because you can tie together the mind and the living space. Clear everything…

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5 fresh ways to kick off your summer loving

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Back in April, I wondered why we’re so quick to stick to the same ol’ same ol’ when it comes to first dates. Are we really learning enough about the other person when we do the dinner-and-a-movie routine? Now that summer has arrived, two things have happened: First, I can’t seem to get this out of my head-   And second, I’m just dying to build on my previous revelations and Dr. Wagstaff’s generous contribution (yes, canoeing and kayaking is a darn good idea for a first date). It’s time to head outside and if you’re looking for romance, whether you’re embarking on one of those heart-fluttering first dates or you’re seeking to maintain the spark in an existing relationship, I’ve…

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Books for TV Addicts: Fans of The Blacklist need a summer fix

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It never fails. Every time I start to like a show, it gets canceled. Dear The Blacklist, please don’t break my heart. In the past year, I had to watch the disappearance of three great shows I really enjoyed: Forever, Manhattan Love Story, and State of Affairs. Sadly, Downton Abbey will end after Season 6 and we’re still waiting on the next season of Sherlock. I still have Castle, which is great, but dating back to the days of Keen Eddie (another show I liked, which got canned in favor of Temptation Island, I believe), my shows tend to disappear. Thankfully, though, one of my new favorites is coming back. NBC’s The Blacklist will return for a third season and I can’t wait to see where Raymond “Red” Reddington, one…

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Summer lovin’ Shelfie Picks from McLean and Eakin Booksellers

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They say spring is the time when a young man’s fancy turns to love. If that’s the case, what happens in summer? Oh, we’re not talking about the standard trashy romance. We’re talking about great stories that just so happen to feature a compelling romance, which makes for perfect summer reading. To satisfy our desire for such fun, captivating books, we went to McLean and Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, Michigan. The store opened in 1992 and it was the setting for a future romance: That’s where two employees met and eventually became husband and wife. In a further twist of fate, they ended up owning the store. Now, Matthew Norcross and his wife Jessilynn cater to book lovers on the…

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7 Terrific “Sweatworking” ideas to keep your clients happy

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Out with the old and inactive, in with the new and vigorous. Entrepreneurs and their clients have been meeting in bars and restaurants since the beginning of time. Or maybe it just feels that long. But these days, a new trend is rising fast: “Sweatworking.” Golf just doesn’t cut it anymore as business owners are starting to take things up a notch, much to the delight of their clients. “Sweatworking,” as detailed by the Huffington Post, is the growing practice of meeting clients in a more active setting; it could be a simple walk, or it might entail an aerobics class of some sort. The result will be a “post-workout smoothie rather than a three-martini lunch” and that’s just beneficial the whole…

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5 Healthy fast foods inspired by “nutritionist to the stars” Amelia Freer

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Why does fast food have to translate to bad food? Two reasons, really: First, it’s only logical to assume that food prepared quickly probably isn’t as good as food made with care. Second, “fast food” is often extremely high in fat, salt, cholesterol and calories. The American fast food joint, led by the McDonalds and Burger Kings of the world, is at least partially responsible for the assumption that “good fast food” is an oxymoron. This of course leads to the erroneous belief that if you don’t have time, you can’t eat well. Nutritionists like rising UK foodie star Amelia Freer – dubbed the “nutritionist to the stars” by the Daily Mail – are combating that belief. Her latest book, Eat. Nourish.…

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8 Legendary legal novels to celebrate Magna Carta’s 800th

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On June 15, 1215, “The Great Charter” was sealed. If you’re unfamiliar, we’re talking about the Magna Carta and this week, this momentous event celebrates its 800th anniversary. The document that became a legal cornerstone for judicial systems around the world was actually nullified in a matter of weeks. But what the Magna Carta began simply couldn’t be stopped. Dubbed “a symbol of freedom under law,” the tyrannical rule of King John was the catalyst. He wanted to impose arbitrary taxes upon barons and the Magna Carta was the first time people proposed the idea of restricting an unelected sovereign. To celebrate this historical anniversary, we’ve compiled a list of eight legendary legal novels that will keep you thinking. Many…

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Live Interview with Elin Hilderbrand, the Queen of the Summer Novel

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If you’re lounging on the beach this summer, there’s one author that needs a place in your picnic basket: Elin Hilderbrand. Her books are perfect for the vacationer, which is why she has earned the appropriate title, “the “Queen of the Summer Novel.” As it says on her website (linked above), she “loves longhand” is a “good cook and a terrible gardener,” and continues to fight breast cancer. Her latest book, The Rumor (Little, Brown and Company), will be available on June 16 and it’s bound to deliver the warm-weather goods. It’s about a Nantucket writer who hits the dreaded writer’s block wall at the worst time. We won’t ruin the story for you, but let’s just say that “summer’s explosive events come to…

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Shelfie Picks: Brookline Booksmith’s favorite historical fiction titles

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There’s nothing quite like a wonderfully immersive historical fiction novel. It keeps us entranced, it keeps us coming back for more; it’s the ideal combination of education and entertainment. Me, I wish this had been a bigger genre when I was in school, because it would’ve made history that much more entertaining. You know how Indiana Jones finally made the study of archaeology undeniably cool? Yeah, same thing. Last week, Tattered Cover Bookstore was nice enough to give us three excellent beach reads. This week, we turn to Brookline Booksmith, a Best of Boston A-List-er, for great new ideas for historical fiction lovers. Co-owner and Store Manager Dana Brigham comes forward with three of her favorites: 1. The High Divide by Lin Enger…

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