• Difficulties of perfecting a Kansas accent

    Next year, the Stephen Foster Drama Association will stage “The Wizard of Oz” in addition to the traditional production of “The Stephen Foster Story.” Recently, the organizers have asked for kids to come out and audition for some parts in the play, which reminded me of my experiences as a teenage actor.

  • Remembering the fine Colonel Hawk

    I remember Colonel Hawk like he was right beside me, right now. He was a Bardstown man who at one time worked for Catherine Conner, a politically powerful savvy ingénue of the Roosevelt administration in the 1930s and ’40s. She told me she was a major reason for Roosevelt winning the White House. From the picture and portraits I saw of her she had to have been, absolutely, a Kentucky beauty queen. I know from knowing her that she was razor sharp with a wit and a retort in conversation that could cut you wide and deep or charm you with her every word.

  • A case of Nativity scene envy

    Every time I have to walk near or around my Nativity scene, I hold my breath.

    And since the plug for the lights on my Christmas tree is near the table holding baby Jesus and his entourage, it’s been a little scary lately.

    It all started Sunday night when I was finishing putting up my Christmas decorations around the house. The tree went up the day before. That’s a job in itself so I saved the rest of the decorations for the next day. Setting up the Nativity scene was on the list for Sunday.

  • Are we sick with solidarity deficiency?

    Our Sisters of Mercy community has us (often, if feels like!) deliberating on various issues flowing from our mission statement and more current community action plans. Most recent among these: the meaning and consequences of being in solidarity with those who are poor.

    Solidarity is a 5-syllable word meaning “unity or communion of interest and responsibilities,” according to the yellowing pages of New Expanded Webster’s Dictionary (1989).

  • Innovation is the thing for future growth

    This is the miracle of the modern world: In advanced economies, real income per capita is at least 16 times what it was about 200 years ago.

    We take this for granted. It is as natural as a grande latte macchiato, or Dish TV. But it’s one of the most astonishing and consequential facts ever.

  • Tax cut fight highlights missing conviction

    Why did Republicans go to the trouble and expense of winning the midterm elections? It looks like they’re about to prove, once again, that you can get your way in Washington without a congressional majority — if you have a firm sense of purpose. Maybe the Democratic Party will find one someday.

    Or maybe not. Sigh.

  • Anticipating Christmas celebrations

    Let the celebration begin! I am anticipating the Bardstown Christmas parade, which usually gets me in the Christmas spirit despite my frozen body, and which will have already happened by the time this column prints.

    The parade is usually my first acknowledgment that the Christmas season is here, but this year, its importance in my merry roundup has been replaced. That’s because I have a new boyfriend this year. He’s not really new anymore, but this is our first Christmas, and I’m learning just how much his family loves it.

  • Wikileaks may create less transparency

    A journalist loves a leak.

    I’ll admit it. We like to unearth secrets, and the deeper they’re buried, the more we like to dig them up.

  • Holiday hassles worth the effort

    My family put out quite the spread this Thanksgiving, but I’m not talking about the food.

    I traveled more than 1,100 miles during the holiday, going from Bardstown to St. Louis to Kansas City in an attempt to see the various members of my disparate clan.

    Now usually, all of us unite for the Thanksgiving holiday, but this time around there were some special considerations caused by the presence and impending arrival of our family’s two newest members.

  • Someone’s always watching you

    There are times when my wife wants to stop off at Wal-Mart on the way home and if I don’t need anything I will just wait in the car until I see her come out. Other than listening to the radio, thumbing through a sales ad in the back seat or taking a nap, there’s not much to do while waiting in the parking lot. So with a bored mind and active imagination, I have devised a game that keeps me occupied.