After scraping around for something -- anything -- good to say about President Barack Obama's debate performance, I came up with this much: at least he didn't look at his watch.
There's this prison, you see, but there's something different about it. People who visit don't come away with visions of iron bars and murderers and breakouts and hardened men desperate to find a way out.
I tore down the old swing set last weekend, demolished it actually. I unscrewed as many nuts and bolts as I could and then took the saw to it, leaving only the pile of sand which had broken the fall of many a crying or giggling toddler at the base of the sliding board. It was time. The old structure had become a little "shop of horrors," so to speak. There were several rungs missing from the ladder, there were damaged boards everywhere, the swings had become rusty and unreliable. She was tired.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Contrary to conventional wisdom that debates are rarely, if ever, game-changers, the first presidential debate was a demolition derby.
Even the best batters have to take batting practice sometimes. But it seems Barack Obama didn't heed such advice during the debate last Wednesday night. His lack of preparation was strikingly evident, only giving further credence to the idea that the president just doesn't seem to like the game of politics all too much.
As a teenager in Pennsylvania, I delivered The Morning Call and The Evening Chronicle to customers in a suburb of Allentown. On rainy days, I'd try to make sure the paper stayed dry inside the screen door. Now, I get The State and the New York Times delivered to my driveway in plastic bags, though the Times delivery is erratic. I can, of course, also read the Times on my iPhone, iPad and desktop computer.
Once or twice a year while living in the Washington, D.C., area as a child, my father would drive me and my sister to New York's Long Island to visit my grandparents, Ira and Barbara Cahn. They lived in Wantaugh, but spent much of their waking hours -- as well as time they should have been sleeping -- a little east of there in Massapequa.
Twenty-five years after sociologist William Julius Wilson's important study of urban decline and vanishing "marriageable men," poverty is still with us. At least, we're finding lots of new ways to argue about it, even if our theories are no less sharply divided than the rest of our politics.
Move over Duggar family, TLC has a new hit show on their hands.
Six weeks have passed since my oldest son walked through our back door. The mere mention of this makes the stretch seem even longer. Of course, aside from a normal dose of missing their brother, for his siblings, this time represents six weeks of more slices of pizza at dinner, shorter waits for the bathroom, and total control of the TV remote. For me, it suggests more intangibles. It is the void, the missing place setting at our table, and the one less body charging down the stairs for breakfast like a horse running for open country.
Research tells us Americans are getting smarter as time goes by.
WASHINGTON -- Gloria Steinem is unmistakable.
The European's triumph during the final round of the Ryder Cup Sunday may provide a preview of things to come on the PGA Tour.
That morning, a piano tune from boyhood days echoed down the halls of Pinedale, a senior citizens care facility located near Camden. As we drew abreast of the piano player's room, there sat Neva Shannon ("Coota") Montgomery with her near 100-year-old, yet nimble fingers "tickling the ivories" into the song "Jesus Loves Me."
If there's one thing I have an unnatural fear of, it's insects of both the crawling and flying variety. I've known that about myself since I was at least 12 years old when a huge bumblebee landed on my head. Not knowing what it was, I reached up and grabbed it only for it to -- naturally -- sting me. Luckily, I'm not allergic, but, boy!, did it hurt. Why that translated to a fear of crawling insects, I'm not sure except that I remember a giant millipede (or something like that) crawling up my bedroom wall ...
WASHINGTON -- Monica Lewinsky is trying to make lemonade out of 16-year-old lemons. Good for her, and good, ultimately, for us.
July 27 marked the beginning of the most stressful week of my life. It began with the surprising news of my aunt's passing, and on top of having to deal with that, I also had to get through my last week of two summer classes and do work for two other classes that would end the following week.
Ben Bradlee became editor of The Washington Post the year I was born, 1965. He stepped down when I was 26, in 1991, the year after I moved to the Midlands of South Carolina.
A friend of mine, long embroiled in upsets, distractions, problems and tribulations, called one day to announce happily that she was learning to "let things roll right off my back."
Ebola is scary. It has scared the bejesus out of us here in South Carolina, nationally and literally all over the world.
The issue of road funding -- or, to put it slightly differently, the question of how South Carolina should fix its broken road system -- is now a constant topic in politics and the media. A fair number of state lawmakers have therefore begun to advocate what politicians always advocate when they don't want to make tough decisions about the budget: raising taxes, specifically the fuel tax.
WASHINGTON -- If politicians preying upon your attentions this season fail to inspire, you might seek common cause with the beasts -- the four-legged variety rather than those running for office.
The wild world of sports seems these days to be filled with thugs and hooligans. I really don't mean to paint such a large group of people with such a wide brush, so I'll say there are plenty of athletes, the majority in fact, who are honest, decent citizens who abide by the accepted rules of humanity in all or most of what they do. But, like in most groups, it's the bad apples who get the most attention.
It's said that Bear Bryant, the legendary football coach at Alabama, once remarked, "Every man thinks he knows how to do two things perfectly: grill a steak and coach a football team."
Trees are fascinating biological wonders. From ancient bristle cone pines and towering redwoods out west to our widely diverse Southern forests, the life cycle of a tree provides us with year-round interest. One of the most intriguing and beautiful results of a tree's life cycle is autumn color.
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