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Columns

  • 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?

  • The lesson of general semantics is tough

    Tying a man to a board, blindfolding him, holding his nose and then pouring water down his mouth to make him feel as if he is drowning is an action.

    You can call it many things. You can call it waterboarding. You can call it an intensive interrogation technique. You can call it questioning. You can call it torture. You can call it not torture.

  • A problem like Bill is hard to conquer

    Hillary Clinton tells audiences that having lived in the White House for eight eventful years, she’s eager to take charge as president on “day one.” Apparently, though, so is Bill.

    Before the Clinton campaign’s recent shift to themes of warmth and approachability, a major weapon against the Barack Obama insurgency was the argument that Hillary could move right in and get to work reforming health care or restructuring foreign policy. She wouldn’t need to spend months learning how to work the buttons on the Oval Office telephone.

  • I was not blessed with any culinary competence

    ’Tis the season for group meals and potlucks, which is unfortunate since I have so many boxes stacked in front of my stove that I can’t get to it to cook anything. And even if I could, I don’t know where my pots and pans are.

    I’ve been in my new apartment a little more than a week and haven’t managed to unpack anything other than the necessities, such as floss, deodorant and clean underwear.

  • Sharing a bit of Christmas humor this holiday

    The sleigh is packed. We’re headed out to the Baltimore-D.C. area to visit my brother and his family. With all the last minute details, I really hadn’t planned a column for this week. But something came in — Christmas humor of a regal nature — that I just have to share. It’s from Uncle Santa, the old fella with $9 million and counting and wanting more in his Christmas stocking.

    May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas. Peace and Joy.

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    Dear Supporter,