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Columns

  • 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.

  • A resolution for less clutter will mark new year

    I have too much stuff. How did it come to this?

    Most of the three days I had off for Christmas were spent shuffling things around in my new apartment. The tradeoff for its low rent and convenience — it’s a four-minute walk from work — is that it’s small. Really, really small. My belongings are packed into my apartment so tightly that if the wind blows very hard, it might burst at the seams.

  • New things can make the New Year date exciting

    New Year’s has always been an exciting time for me. The reasons for my excitement are similar to the reasons I still get excited for my birthday. They are not for what is considered to be the typical reasons, parties, gaiety and friends. But for the anticipation of something new — it is a decisive feeling in the pit of my stomach — a high like no other. There is a mystery to the unknown, thrill to discovery of what will be. Each day that passes, should truly be as such — a celebration of accomplishment or mourning of failure.

  • The loss of many great ones who left us in 2007

    Toward the end of each year I tend to reflect on the passing of those I admire. Often they are celebrities, or at least were during some point in their lives. Some were just ordinary people who achieved some degree of notoriety in their lives.

    Unfortunately, in a world obsessed with Britney Spears and whether she is wearing underpants, losing custody of her kids or shaving her head, many really cool people die and it never gets reported in the mainstream news.

  • This may be the time to go honky punk

    When I was a kid, I found an old 78 record in our basement that featured Hank Williams singing “Cold, Cold Heart” on one side, and “Dear John” on the other. Those old 78s were nigh indestructible, as were the 45s that came later. I know this because “Dear John” is hanging on my family room wall, right beside my Dean Dillon “Slick Nickel” album and my James Dean poster.

    Anyway, I was listening to the radio the other day and heard an introduction for Hank Williams III.

  • A list of lists to top all lists as the old year closes

    We, as Americans, have a bizarre fascination with organizing our likes and dislikes into lists. As the year draws to its close, I have created my own top-10 list — of top-10 lists. Enjoy.

    10. Annoying 1990s cartoon characters (www.askmen.com)

  • Animal companions - reflections of ourselves?

    The link between man and animal is a strange and complicated one. At one time all beasts ran wild and did as they pleased. When and why did man decide to domesticate animals? There are two distinguishing factors, the first — domestication of livestock, I can fully understand — it’s a survival issue, but the second, seems more complicated, the domestication of animals as pets — for enjoyment.

    What made the first person cross species lines looking for companionship? How did they know it was possible?