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Columns

  • Performance worth an exclamation point

    It’s easy to make fun of the pretentious verbiage that’s used to inflate sporting events — and those who take part in them — beyond all earthly reason: “the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat,” “the limits of human endurance,” “the heart of a champion,” blah blah blah. It’s easy to point out that professional athletes, by and large, are absurdly pampered and privileged, and that they are paid their fortunes not to work but to play.

  • Bat family makes its home above woman’s swing

    Christal Mackin has bats in her belfry — or she will soon if the bats in her awning don’t find another place to roost.

    The Bardstown woman has already been cautioned by her 8-year-old granddaughter, Breana, to do nothing to the mother bat and four babies that have claimed the shade that covers Mackin’s outside furniture as their own.

    “I don’t plan on bothering them,” she said as she showed the bats off Wednesday afternoon.

    With their beady little eyes, webbed wings and talon-gripping toes, no one can blame her.

  • No Child Left Behind causes problems

    For about the life spans of three mules, I’ve been hearing educators profess to being mystified by the “achievement gap” in public education.

    Actually, many of these who profess to be mystified are lying. They know the cause of the gap. They are afraid to say it. It is one of the most politically incorrect things in the book of forbidden thoughts.

  • Visitors bring a small window to the world

    Being settled and wandering free are two distinct ways to live. Each has its advantages. In one instance, a person has security, comfort and a place for their things to rest. In the second, there’s uncertainty, adventure and at times question about where you will rest your pack at night.

    At the moment I would consider myself to be settled. I have a home in which I lay my head at night and where my things live while I’m out doing other things. I also hope to buy a home or land and build a homestead one day, but I am not for certain my wandering days are through.

  • To buy or not to buy — is that the question?

    When the weather warms up, I start thinking about something scary. I start wanting to do something that may be a mistake. The thoughts swirl around in my mind until the weather turns cold again and it no longer matters that my only access to the outdoors is to leave my apartment and go somewhere else.

    Every spring/summer for the last three years or so, I start wanting to buy a house.

  • It's tough battling UV rays without my shades

    In the summer months, I pick up a new habit—wearing sunglasses everywhere.

    It almost becomes like an addiction as I sport huge black-framed sunglasses whenever I go outdoors. I find myself putting my sunglasses on before fastening my seat belt when I start my car. They stay nicely placed on my face until I come inside. That is when I nestle my sunglasses on the top of my head. Sometimes, they turn into a headband.

  • Coal is bad news for us and the environment

    I have a very extensive file of information about the environment. Actually its size evokes a groan in me this time of year when thorough file pruning is needed.

    One file folder among the many in the deep file drawer is devoted to coal.

    Now Kentucky has a lot of interest in coal — because Kentucky has a very large amount of it. It has been a major factor in our economy for a long time now. It largely accounts for our very low rates for

    electricity.

  • Where there's smoke, doesn't always mean fire

    When smoke started streaming underneath the hood of my car, my heart skipped a beat.

    Thoughts raced through my head as I watched the smoke waft past my passenger side window as I waited at the traffic light at the intersection of Stephen Foster Avenue and Second Street. “Is my car about to blow up?” “Is that smoke really coming from my car?” “Will I make it to work or should I stop now?” “Will it even go when I hit the gas pedal?”

  • Another victory for the rule of the law

    It shouldn’t be necessary for the Supreme Court to tell the president that he can’t have people taken into custody, spirited to a remote prison camp and held indefinitely, with no legal right to argue that they’ve been unjustly imprisoned — not even on grounds of mistaken identity. But the president in question is, sigh, George W. Bush, who has taken a chainsaw to the rule of law with the same manic gusto he displays while clearing brush at his Texas ranch.

  • It takes strength to find honor in corrupt system

    This year marks the 125th anniversary of the passage of the Pendleton Act, which set into motion the civil service system we know today — jobs being awarded on the basis of merit and candidates to be selected through competitive examinations. It also made it unlawful to demote or terminate employment for political reasons. Today, it’s estimated that more than 90 percent of about 2.7 million federal employees are covered under the system.