• Iowa caucus is eye-opening for first-time voter

    While the nation is relieved to be stepping out from the political cow patties and cornfields of Iowa, shifting attention to the Granite State, here’s a final, inside look at a Thursday night caucus in the western part of the state:

    It’s 6:25 and already cold enough to freeze the ears off a sow. The sidewalks have been cleared, but with 6 to 7 inches of snow on the ground, there are a few slick spots here and there.

  • Does Hollywood make you feel better?

    When Samuel Goldwyn led MGM studios, he reportedly told one of his producers, “If you want to send a message, use Western Union.”

    That’s all the explanation that is necessary for the poor box-office showing of a number of Iraq War films. When people go to the movies, they want to be entertained, not depressed or lectured. Goldwyn understood that; many in Hollywood today do not.

  • Mind power isn't just science fiction, it's reality

    All of us have heard the saying “mind over matter.” It is the idea that the mind is more powerful than the body. The power of suggestion rules the mind whether it is external suggestion or a change in the tidal forces of the brain by one’s own power.

  • First trip abroad should be eye-opening event

    By the time you read this, I’ll be in Europe.

    Yes, as you read this, I am enjoying my first-ever trip outside the United States. I like to think I’ll be strolling the Champs-Elysees or gaping at the masterpieces in the Louvre, but I could be gagging while my friend tries escargot — he swears he’s going to — or trying to keep the peace between my two travel companions, one a loner and one a socialite.

  • May the magic, mystery of Christmas never leave

    How must it have looked — the blinking twinkling Christmas tree in the corner of the living room?

    What must it have felt like — the crunch of shiny bows in her tiny fingers, and the crinkle of brightly-colored wrapping paper?

    How must it have sounded — the squeal of her 3-year-old cousin opening and closing the music box playing “What Child Is This” with the little ballerina dancing inside?

  • Even more of the great ones who died in 2007

    Last week my column was intended to focus on interesting, unique and often well-known persons who died in 2007. During research and writing I discovered too many had passed away for only one column. So, in an effort to enlighten, entertain and enjoy the memories these fine folks leave behind, here is part two of my picks for those who died in 2007.

    • June 29 – George McCorkle, 60, a guitarist with The Marshall Tucker Band.

  • Passion for a belief led to the death of Bhutto

    It was haunting last week to watch an interview with Benazir Bhutto. The interview followed an attempt on her life shortly after she returned to Pakistan. A suicide bomber took his life in a failed attempt to take hers. Though she survived, the blast killed more than 100 people

  • Is your child's Christmas toy on the recall list?

    Did you have problems shopping for your children or grandchildren this Christmas?

    If you’ve been following the “toxic toy” stories in the news, you know that finding a truly safe toy is difficult. You must read toy labels as closely as you do food labels or search the Internet for information. No one wants to place their children on a diet of lead-based paint.

  • We are a nation of paranoid personalities

    We Americans like to think of ourselves as strong, rugged and supremely confident — a nation of Marlboro Men and Marlboro Women, minus the cigarettes and the lung cancer. So why do we increasingly find ourselves hunkered behind walls, popping pills by the handful to stave off diseases we might never contract and eyeing the rest of the world with an us-or-them suspicion that borders on the pathological?

  • Economy taking us down the wrong road

    The current crisis in the American economy was caused by a meeting of the unscrupulous and the uninformed. Unscrupulous lenders saddled the uninformed with mortgages that would eventually rear up and bite them in the pocketbook.

    The problem is wider than the foreclosures that are now under way in the so-called subprime market. After all, many of these people have little or no equity in the homes they are losing, so they won’t be much worse off financially than they were before they signed their mortgage loans. They’ll have bad credit, but they probably had that anyway.