Only once since my foolish adolescence do I recall actually feeling fortunate to be a smoker, a truly insidious addiction that I have since kicked. It was the slightly chilly Washington evening on which I was joined during a smoke break at a friend's birthday party by Christopher Hitchens, one of the few people who can be called a journalist-intellectual without it sounding like a punch line.
Imagine a place where jobs are plentiful, and the housing market is thriving. A place where even low-playing service jobs come with signing bonuses and other benefits.
Last week, I named Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews as my 2011 Person of the Year. Inevitably, any thoughts of law enforcement bring me thoughts of crime. Sometimes reading crime reports can be the most enjoyable part of the day.
WASHINGTON -- The Republicans' final debate preceding the Iowa caucuses is suddenly uncompelling. There is nothing to do but write about Christopher Hitchens, whose death has made the world immeasurably less interesting.
Choosing a career in the media makes me a willing martyr. Although I am drawn to the glossy covers of magazines and daydream about seeing my 10-point byline in publications nationwide, making a living as a reporter means continuously living in my most vulnerable state.
A conservative Christian group has launched a boycott against "All-American Muslim." The TLC reality TV show about Muslim families in America fails to live down to the group's narrow-minded stereotypes. Their gripe, in my view, makes about as much sense as boycotting "The Cosby Show" because it doesn't mention black street gangs.
WASHINGTON -- Callista Gingrich has done something she might come to regret -- succumbed to the Twitter fairy and opened the door to unwelcome scrutiny.
WASHINGTON -- Oh, quelle gaffe.
If the Los Angeles Lakers need a shoulder to cry on after losing out on acquiring all-star guard Chris Paul, they may want to set up a long distance call with the Atlanta Hawks.
Last year at this time, my column was about my own favorite school Christmas memories. Apparently, folks actually read it, because a number of people I encountered during the holidays last year shared their own with me. So this year, I asked staff and community members to share a favorite Christmas memory in the Kershaw County schools with me. Following are ones I received that I especially enjoyed:
Like him or not, there is no doubt Sheriff Jim Matthews has made an impact here in Kershaw County.
This Christmas story was first related to C-I readers many years ago by Max Ford. Its message remains clear during this holiday season.
Surrounded by the marvels of all the electronic capabilities among us today, I have put pen to paper to wish you a joyous holiday season. In the lifetime of our son, Edwards, we may see pen and paper become historic tools. So, while I can, I want to share a holiday message with each of you.
'Tis the season, it appears, for Newt Gingrich to show his dual political personalities: naughty and nice.
I don't often get the chance, simply due to my work schedule, but every now and then I like to see what our sister paper in Bishopville, the Lee County Observer, has on its front page.
My people, as I have long said, were raised up on hard times in the Appalachian foothills. I don't know that I had a grandparent who ever saw the sum of $500 at one time or even held a $100 bill in hand.
I was browsing through a community newspaper recently -- not this one -- when I came across photos from the senior prom at a particular high school.
Trigger warning: This column will include discussion of ideas which may conflict with your own.
I am a musician, so I am, of course, also a big music fan. As far back as my memory can stretch, way before I ever learned to play an instrument, I loved to listen to music. Mostly it was on the radio, but my parents and older sister had a few record albums, too.
Nothing instills fear in the heart and soul of humans as does a snake. Since the beginning of recorded history, snakes have been a symbol of evil, treachery, poison, etc., and because of this perception, misinformation and folklore, most people hate snakes. Personally I have no problem with snakes; roaches and tarantulas are a different story, but a snake? No worries.
WASHINGTON -- You know we're off to the races when the first slip of the tongue by the presumed Republican presidential front-runner consumes the news for days and launches the primary race in earnest.
I have a picture -- probably my favorite of my parents -- which sits on my desk in my office at home. It was taken circa 1960, give or take a year or two, on the evening of the West Point Founder's Day ball.
More than 60 percent of us who live in South Carolina today were born here. As native South Carolinians, we grew up imbibing the history, heritage and myths of the South. And there is no stronger myth of the South than the myth of the Lost Cause, as beautifully and brilliantly portrayed by the 1939 romantic historical film epic, Gone With the Wind.
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